Walking On Water
by HYPERFocused

Cameron is drowning, Eight feet deep in his father's pool; he makes no effort to rise to the surface. These few moments of quiet under the water are the only moments of peace he's had in as long as he can remember. It isn't enough time to see his life flash before his eyes, and that may just be a cliche, but he does have time to relive the events of the day.

The phone rings at 8:00 A.M, waking him up from his usual recurring dream. Ferris' voice on the phone merging with his voice in the dream, but Cameron doubts the real Ferris is stroking himself, saying "Cam, buddy, you know you want this." He doubts Ferris has ever entertained the thought. At the same time, he knows Ferris has always been adventurous, and maybe if Cameron phrased it the right way - "experimenting", perhaps - it would happen. Not that Cameron would ever have the nerve. Ferris is the one who dares and wins.

No, he just wants him to provide transportation for whatever asinine plan he's got for the day. Cameron makes a token protest -- he's sick. His father will find out -- but both of them know he'll do what Ferris asks. He always does. He never asks for anything in return.

There's a saying Cameron likes, a quote from Pride and Prejudice, a book he had to read for AP English this year: There are few people whom I really love and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more I am dissatisfied with it".

Nothing he saw today changed his mind about this. He hated the snooty waiter who barely condescended to serve them. (He was still convinced the guy had spit on their food.). He hated the garage attendants who'd all but stolen his father's Porsche. He hated the huddled masses who yelled obscenities and spilled beer at the Cubs game.

Cameron is best at being inconspicuous. Nobody would notice if he walked out in the middle of class. Nobody notices when he shows up. He's been sick more days than not this semester, and no one has started a collection for him. He doesn't get a "Save Cameron" sign. He doesn't even merit a "Hey, you sit behind me in Trig, don't you? Where've you been? Do you want to borrow my notes?" No, he's the one they cheat off of, without even asking.

He's not even sure what the parade is for, and really, it doesn't matter. Every day is Ferris Day. Ferris has dragged them into it. He's clearly not a member of whatever ethnic or cultural group is celebrating today, but within moments, he's as much a part of the festivities as the costumed dancers. Cameron shouldn't be surprised to see Ferris actually singing on top of the main float.

Ferris loves being the center of attention. That's always been the place he plays in Cameron's life. Cameron may put him on a pedestal, but he's never thrown him a parade.

Cameron should be mad at Ferris. It's his fault they had to mess with the car's odometer in the first place. There had been no need to take the car out for a joyride. They all could have found something to do closer to home. They could even have taken the train. Hell, they could have stayed in school, though he can at least admit he's glad they didn't.

As long as he lives - and right now, that might not be long at all - Cameron doesn't think he'll ever forget the sound of his father's car crashing onto the rocks below his garage. He won't forget Ferris' face, either. It's an expression mixed of equal parts awe and horror, as if Cameron has finally topped him on the shock-o-meter.

It's scary, but it's also freeing. He can't cover this up, and his father won't be able to ignore it. And yes, there's a part of him thrilled at the idea of hurting his father's one true love. He hates that fucking car, every inch of it, from fine leather seats to its pretentiously loud stereo system.

Awful as this has been, there's something refreshing about it. Something is happening that won't blend in to every other tedious non-event in his life, until every day looks just like the other, and he looks back at seventeen as a dull blur - punctuated by the occasional spark Ferris brings to it. Cameron did this. He acted, instead of just watching while the world went on around him.

He can barely see the commotion above him. Ferris' frantic splashing hardly makes a ripple. Almost before he can think to be scared, he finds himself pulled up onto the concrete, spitting out chlorinated water. He lies back and lets Sloane revive him, wishing it was Ferris.

Once it's clear he's going to be all right, Ferris slaps him on the back, as if to say "Lucky you, getting to kiss my girlfriend." Cameron laughs, but he doesn't mean it. Ferris would think he's attracted to Sloane, and generous friend that he is, wouldn't mind sharing for a moment. He's cool like that, but Cameron doesn't know how cool he'd be if he knew how Cameron really felt. Because Rick Springfield may want his best friend's girlfriend, but Cameron Fry wants his best friend.

That's twice he's come close to death today, and he's survived both attempts. Maybe he's braver than he thought. Realizing this is like coming to the surface after years of being underwater. It's liking breaking through the glass that's always surrounded him, and kept him from breathing freely.

Cameron feels oddly strong, like he could come through anything now. He vows to tell his best friend how he feels, before he loses the nerve. He doesn't know what will come of it. Probably nothing, but at least he won't regret not trying.

There is no friendship odometer to try and turn back if Ferris freaks out, no way to un-say it. But Cameron is tired of spinning his wheels against the block of his fears and inhibitions. He's already made one unexpected move, and lived to tell the tale. He has no idea what his father will do, but at least he'll do something. He can't gauge Ferris's reaction either, but he's not as scared as he could be. If the events of the day have taught him anything, finally, it all comes down to being willing to take a chance.


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